Stewarts Office Plants

We supply many businesses across the South, from Sussex and Surrey, through Hampshire and Dorset to Wiltshire and Somerset. For more information about the services we offer visit our home page, or contact us here. In this blog you'll find news, interesting snippets, stories and pictures of our staff's adventures out on the road.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Watch this space!

Last September I posted an image of the steel frame of our new greenhouse being erected, commenting that we'd be moving in early next year (so about four to six months ago).

Sadly a combination of factors has delayed this a lot - like any building project - but I thought it was time to post some update pictures and describe the new building in a little more detail.

As you can see the outer shell is complete, and has been for some time. What has happened more recently is the fitting out of electrics and plumbing. One of the big jobs (and one source of delay) is the super-modern underfloor heating system. No more being deafened by our super-noisy oil boiler in the winter! Under the concrete floor is a maze of heating pipes, which we are told will also be very efficient.

Our department's area will comprise the right hand bay above for the day-to-day running of the department (i.e. where all the plants will be kept) and the middle bay will largely be used for storage of old containers and Christmas trees etc., so won't need to be heated the whole time.

The internal pic on the left shows what the inside of our main area looks like now; we have a side door that a small van can drive in through, so in theory my maintenance staff will be able to 'drive through' and load up in the morning. More importantly they will be able to pre-heat their vans in the winter, much more environmentally friendly than running the engine for 5-10 minutes like we do now.

My office will be behind the small window at the nearest corner of the top photo. Glancing up at my thermometer now (30 deg C), I am only too aware that I have been promised air conditioning in my office. Though at this rate I won't need it until summer 2019.


Don't get sunburnt!

As anyone reading this blog in the UK will have noticed, it's been a bit hot and sunny recently. In fact I don't think we've had sustained rain since the washout that was Easter. Anyway...

I occasionally get asked by people if they should move their plants outside in the summer and - with very rare exceptions - I say no. The problem is that (like humans) they get sunburnt if not allowed to acclimatise. Even the change from being in a conservatory to being in direct sun can be a shock. So generally it's safest just to not bother.

Also, unless you are bringing it in every night, even in summer night time temperatures can be too low for some more sensitive indoor plants, like most Dracaenas.

Now onto the related problem of sunburn indoors. In this picture of a Dracaena Janet Craig, shamelessly stolen from the internet, you can see that the plant is in an awful state. As it's in a conservatory, sunburn is the most likely problem (A Janet Craig is a low light plant). However, if it had been gradually introduced to a higher light spot it may have been ok. This looks like a relatively new plant, so I'm suspecting it's been bought from a garden centre and plonked right in a sunny window in the summer.

So the key here is first to choose an appropriate plant for the place you want it, and second to try and avoid sudden changes in the light that the plant receives.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

100 year old Aspidistra

I had last week off as annual leave. In further proof that I have interior plants in my blood, on visiting the museum in the small town in which I live, the only photo I took was the one above.

The label renders further explanation unnecessary but I'll do it anyway in case you can't read it: this is a divided part of an Aspidistra that was given to a local resident over one hundred years ago. I know Aspidistras are affectionately known as 'Cast Iron Plants' but that's just ridiculous!

For comparison, our maintenance prices assume plants will last three years on average.

As a side note, Aspidistras have gone from being deeply unfashionable (they are the archetypal Victorian plant, one of the few that will withstand proximity to smoky coal fires I'm told) to being very fashionable in the last few years. Though the rise in popularity of big bushy, broad-leaved plants (see my last post) seems to have displaced them somewhat.

Care advice? They will cope with almost any light level and like to be kept fairly dry. They are one of the few plants susceptible to Snow Scale; you'll see the stems turning white from the soil up, but it's easily controllable.

Finally, I thoroughly recommend Sturminster Newton Museum if you are in the town. It's only small (but then so is Stur!) but it's a mine of local information, particularly about the town's railway past and about the ruined 'castle', that most people don't even know lurks in the trees above the Stur Bridge traffic lights. And even better: admission is free!